Articles Archive


40 Fantastic Open Source WordPress Plugins

2013 collection new wordpress plugins

There is an ever-growing library of plugins to be found in the official WordPress directory. These plugins are all free to download and many have also been submitted into Github as open source. It can be fun prowling the Newest and Recently Updated plugins to look for any gems. There are already so many solutions to various problems, but finding new stuff is always fun.

I have put together 40 new WordPress plugins for managing bits of functionality in your website. These are all free to download and you can even install them right from your WP Admin Plugins menu. Granted some of these examples may not prove useful to everyone. But it is encouraging to see lots of creativity from WordPress developers, along with the openness of sharing their efforts with the community.

August 5th, 2013 Posted in Web Standards

Code an Awesome Hire Me Card With Your Gravatar


It’s been a while since we polished our HTML and CSS skills with a fun little demo, let’s end that streak with a project that’s both super attractive and super practical.

Today we’re going to build a card-style “Hire Me” widget that you can quickly drop onto any web page. Along the way we’ll learn a bunch of great stuff about CSS positioning and how to use pseudo elements to pull off some cool effects.

August 2nd, 2013 Posted in CSS

15 Delightful, Immersive Video Game Website Designs

True gamers don’t just want to enjoy only the game’s experience; they want to know who makes the game, the video game company history, and the inspiration behind a video game. With the video game’s creativity and art comes an inspired art on it’s own: the video game website.

Video game websites are often unique and creative — rich with graphics, sliders, images, videos, leader boards and more. They also have to give the first impression for a game, as a video game website generally launches a while before the game is released. Let’s look at some of the best designed and developed video game websites created over the past couple of years.

July 31st, 2013 Posted in Inspiration

Current Color Trends: Muted Pastels


Of late, you may have noticed a crop of new site designs have a softer and lighter look. After all the rainbow brights and even neon or fluorescent hues that have been so popular of late, it seems that some designers are taking a more subtle approach by using lighter or muted colors.

Although the same basic treatments are still being utilized — like colorized photography or color blocking — the new hues are making for a more refined and understated variation on these themes. Today we’re going to delve into this trend a little more, and explore various design examples and approaches.

July 30th, 2013 Posted in Graphics

6 Portfolio Design Mistakes That Drive Me Nuts


Your public portfolio is one of the most important things you’ll ever design. It presents you to the world and, if you’re a freelancer, tends to play a major role in whether or not people choose to hire you.

Because of my role as the editor of Design Shack, I’ve viewed a ton of online portfolios and today I’d like to walk through some of the weaknesses I see time and time again. Read on to see if you’ve made some of these mistakes.

July 26th, 2013 Posted in Business
Create a Simple jQuery Image Lightbox Gallery

Create a Simple jQuery Image Lightbox Gallery

css3 blog thumbnail gallery lightbox effect

When building your own WordPress theme, there are a number of items to consider. One such page element is a dynamic image gallery, either using a lightbox or some type of sliding panel. Both of these user interfaces mesh nicely into the content of an article. Since they can both work on typical websites it is nice to have the code ready for use in any other blog theme.

For this tutorial I want to focus on using the lightbox effect with a plugin called jQuery lightBox. This is very easy to setup and get customized on your own website. Granted there are a few awkward fixes within the CSS, but overall the plugin works perfectly. There are even some alternate parameters where you can specify properties like the animation speed or background opacity.

July 24th, 2013 Posted in JavaScript

Just 24 Hours Left to Claim Your Creative VIP Discount!


Last week, we let you know about a new project we’ve just launched — Creative VIP! It’s an exclusive membership club for creative professionals, with special privileges and discounts on world-class products and services, hundreds of design resources, and lovely creative goodie bags.

We’re offering all Design Shack readers a 25% discount on their membership, but there’s just 24 hours left to take advantage of the offer! Read on to find out more about why you should become a member…

July 23rd, 2013 Posted in Design Shack

The Importance of Designing for Readability


Text is not an afterthought in the design process. It should be your first consideration.

Readability should be one of the top concerns when it comes to any design project. If text can’t be read, then why are you designing in the first place? Good design delivers content in a way that is understandable; readability is a big part of comprehension. Today we’ll be discussing how you can plan a design around the words, so that your projects are easy to read.

July 22nd, 2013 Posted in Typography

Design Dilemma: The No-Win Magazine Startup Situation


Sandra G. writes:  A startup approached me to do all their graphics (the owner says I’ll be their creative director) and I am getting paid, so it’s not the usual “great-opportunity-do-it-for-free,” but the owner is… well… an idiot. He has these ideas that make no sense, unreal expectations and although I made it clear what I would do for what I’m being paid (30% up front, 30% after all the material is approved and the rest once everything is at the printer), he keeps adding things I have to do. How do I protect myself from further growing responsibilities?

This email started a two-month back and forth between Sandra and me, so it gets even more interesting. Join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

July 18th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma

7 Lovely Flat Freebies for Designers


The concept of “flat” design is fairly prevalent at the moment and, although you should never stick with a trend just because it’s the “in thing”, there’s certainly some merit to stripping back unnecessary design flourishes and focusing on the basics.

Today we’re featuring seven freebie packs that can help to give you a useful starting point when designing something with a flat, minimal look and feel. From icons to complete web templates, there’s plenty to get your teeth into!

July 17th, 2013 Posted in Freebies